September 4, 2010


Schools, students prepare for first day

Classes start on Tuesday for most area schools; Cincy, Homer, Marathon begin Wednesday

SchoolBob Ellis/staff photographer
Parker Elementary School second-grade teacher Leona Kelemen makes name tags Friday for her students, who will begin the school year on Tuesday.

Staff Reporter

Summer is almost over for students in the Cortland region's nine school districts, as schools open next week after Labor Day Weekend.
Cortland city schools will have a two-hour delay when they begin instruction on Tuesday.
Times for students to report to the different buildings: 9:45 a.m. for Cortland Junior-Senior High School (with no zero period), 10:25 a.m. for Barry and Virgil, 10:40 a.m. for Parker and Smith, and 10:45 a.m. for Randall.
The change was added to the school calendar to give the district 187 days for teachers without starting before Labor Day. Usually teachers come in for a day for meetings and preparation, then classes start the next day, but this year the district is having two hours of teacher preparation and then classes.
"The teachers need to review our safety plan, with construction underway in the schools," said Superintendent of Schools Larry Spring. "We've done asbestos abatement, now the crews are putting up partitions to cover areas they'll be working on."
The city district's $41 million capital project will upgrade heating systems and security in all six district school buildings. It will also replace the grass athletic field at Moisiechik Field with artificial turf, so the football teams will play all of their games on the road.
Spring said removal of the grass field will start next week, as the engineers examine and fix the pipes beneath the field that direct water flow.
Construction site offices and massive garbage bins now sit next to some of the school buildings. Renovation of the buildings is just beginning and will continue through the school year.
Five districts will join Cortland in opening on Tuesday: DeRuyter, Dryden, Groton, McGraw and Moravia. Those districts held their teacher preparation days this past week.
Dryden will have a half-day of school on the first day, as it did last year.
Three districts will start school on Wednesday: Cincinnatus, Homer and Marathon. Their teacher preparation day will be Tuesday.
Spring said starting the school year Tuesday gives the Cortland teachers 186 days. The 187th day will come from teachers doing staff development work with colleagues in time periods spread over the year. Teachers will collaborate on testing a hypothesis about teaching, Spring said.
Students are required to have a minimum of 180 days of instruction. Districts usually schedule 182 to 184 days, accounting for snow days.
Teachers and students objected to the idea of starting school before Labor Day.
"People still have mini-vacations," Spring said.
Lynn New will serve as principal for Virgil and Barry elementary schools, as the district left the Barry principal's job vacant after Lydia Rosero resigned.
McGraw Central will begin classes as the first phase of its capital project wraps up, with some work expected to continue through this month.
The $3.7 million phase has replaced roofs, sidewalks, heating systems, and parking lots around both buildings. It also has replaced lockers, a boys' locker room and bathrooms.
The low bids from contractors left the district with $3.5 million to use for a second phase, to be done next summer. Voters approved $8.6 million in funding in 2007, using EXCEL funds.
This will be the first school year for new Superintendent of Schools Mary Curcio, who arrived from Harrisville Central, where she was principal for grades six through 12. She replaces Maria Fragnoli-Ryan, who retired after 10 years.
Karen Rachetta takes over as principal at Dryden High School, replacing Richard During, who retired. She was a middle school principal in the Ithaca city district.
Rachetta is a Dryden resident; her husband Paul is a village trustee.


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